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More of Why & How Others Have Quit Smoking

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Last Updated April 2016

from Anonymous:

I quit smoking because I was tired to being a slave to the cigarette. I couldn't get satisfied with smoking just one I needed a second or third one all in a row. My hair stank from the smoke and I was smoking inside my house (which I said I would never do again after quitting for 4 years) I tired on several attempts to not smoke but found myself buying cigarettes. Finally one day after smoking about 50 in one day I said no more. My Mom had died of emphysema in Sept and I got to see the black stuff coming out of her lungs. I also got to she her lose all her strength and not be able to walk 5 steps without stopping to catch what breath she could. God I don't want to die like that. I just quit I had been looking at boards but not posting, I finally decided to join some support online groups and here I am 10 days later feeling the better for it. Yes, I have cravings and junkie thinking but not for today I haven't smoked.


from James:

Like so many others, I picked up the damn habit while in College. It killed three of my grandparents, broke my mother's heart when she found out that I bought into it and made me feel aged well beyond my 23 years.

My girlfriend was none too happy about it either, especially after spending last winter watching her father get his lungs drained in the hospital due to smoking-related infections.

I knew I'd stop someday, but I also knew it would have to be on my own terms and with complete and utter inner determination.

So one day, two weeks ago, I was walking home from work, having the last of a pack. As I stood waiting for the crosswalk light, I looked at the burning stick in my hand and thought, "You know what? F*ck it." I flicked it out into the street, determined never to light up again. I haven't, and I won't.

The acid test, of course, is going out with friends, being in a situation where it's most "natural" to be smoking (ie- bars). Several times I've gone out, and each time I have been literally surrounded by a gaggle of smokers. Not yet has the urge struck me to light up again, and I don't think it will. (Interesting sidenote: Never has cigarette smoke been so irritating to me as when everyone in the room but you is smoking. Try focusing on the annoyance factor of the smoke the next time you have the impulse to light up with your friends.)

I read once that scientists isolated a gene that determines whether one is predisposed to nicotine addiction or not. I must lack the gene because I have honestly not felt one physical symptom of withdrawal. The only reminders of what I used to do are occasional attitude irritability and a nagging cough, but I hear that's natural - the body cleansing itself, as it were.

Last night, during one particular irritable episode, I got into a mild tiff with my girlfriend. Feeling horrible about it today, I did perhaps the most constructive thing quitting has allowed me to do yet:

I used the money that would have supported my almost-one pack per day habit the last few weeks and sent my girlfriend flowers, apologizing for my behavior.

So that's my story thus far, and let me tell you, I'm digging this non-smoking thing.


The following was sent to us by Brian:

I'd very much like to add my thoughts to your Why & How Others have Quit page. I picked up the smoking habit in college. There were too many reasons to have each next cigarette and not enough apparent reasons to stop. I never really considered myself a smoker though. I figured I would just smoke during college and then quit upon graduation. I never pictured my life after school with cigarettes but I couldn't imagine my life in school without them. I graduated and (surprise, surprise) kept smoking. One day I just woke up and didn't have any cigarettes. I went the whole day and thought, "yeah, this is it. I'm ready." I picked a reason to keep off the smokes (a fencing competition a few weeks away) and thought about that reason every time I wanted a smoke. I thought about it as an ultimatum, like if I had a cigarette I could never fence again. It worked. After the competition I picked something else.

Each time I achieve my objective I have a steak and pick a new reason not to smoke. It's been going on that way for 59 days now and I'm not giving up on quitting. The moodiness was tough and I still get cravings all the time but I'm confident that I've got it licked. Smoking is not an option. You have to want to do this. No pressure from friends or family can make you quit. You need to do because you want to do it. You are waging war against your own weaknesses and you must be ready to fight to the finish. I want to thank the people who have posted on this site. None of my friends have quit yet so I didn't have anyone who understood. So, thank you, soldiers in arms against cigarettes. Take care, Brian


from Stacey:

For the last three years (ever since I turned 30), I have wanted to quit smoking, and even attempted to a few times with the patch or cold turkey, and maybe I would last a month or two, then slip right back into a full-time
habit whenever I got really stressed out.

So finally I began to imagine myself as a prisoner of nicotine addiction. Trying to quit (unsuccessfully) felt like going through a series of appeals to the governor of my mind and body. I got so tired of losing my appeals, always resigning myself to prison instead of choosing freedom, which could be attainable simply by exercising my willpower to stay smoke-free for the rest of my life. (Well, it isn't simple but I had to convince myself it was).

Add to that - My best friend of 20 years and I have both been regular smokers for about 10 years. She told me that she successfully quit smoking recently because a child that she cares for simply asked her why she smoked. She could not give an answer, other than, "I don't know." That was it - she quit the next day. Well, when she told me she her story, I thought, "Then what excuse do I have?" I have known her practically my whole life and if she cannot give me inspiration to quit, who can? So I quit smoking too.

I don't think saying how long it has been since I have had a cigarette really helps anybody, because it is either a lifelong commitment or it isn't. I have relapsed many times before because I thought that time mattered.

I also liked this quote from another ex-smoker and refer to it often: Remember that whatever happens, it doesn't make a bit of difference if you were smoking or not (i.e. how would lighting up a cigarette change anything or make anything better?)

PS - I love your website - really helped me a lot...

From Anonymous:

I smoked secretly in high school ( I was a cheerleader, athlete and scholar). I started smoking openly in college....1967 was my freshman year. I'm not going into personal details so.....33 years later, Nov. 2000, I was diagnosed with skin cancer. I had a malignancy on my ankle. Removing it required a skin graft. The surgeon told me the chances of the graft "taking" would be greatly reduced if I continued to smoke. I'm a Type A, constantly busy, HAVE to be busy. So I didn't want to risk possibly losing my foot for a cigarette. I bought Nicorette and stopped smoking the day before my surgery. The gum seemed to work. I believed in it. The info packet that came with the gum said I could chew up to a piece an hour. The day of my surgery I chewed four pieces. The second day I chewed four pieces! . This continued for the rest of the week. By the 9th day, I was down to one piece and said the heck with it. I went to regular gum. Today is Jan. 6...I haven't smoked since Nov. 6. I'm breathing better than ever. I haven't used the Ventolin, Flovent, Serevent, and Proventil that I've been using since I was 26 years old since Nov. 10. Hmmmm. If I can do it, anyone can.


from Wendy:

I quit smoking September 19, 2001 after smoking for almost 11 years on and off (three off times were while I was pregnant). The 18th of Sept. I just decided enough was enough. I threw away the rest of my pack and decided there was no reason I needed to let someone else raise my children due to me dying of lung cancer. I went the whole next day without one and then that night for some stupid reason I grabbed one of my husbands cigs and went outside by myself. I took three puffsn and asked myself, "what the hell am I doing?!!" I threw the cigarette into the pond and threw my hand up while verbalizing, "THAT'S IT!" and I haven't had one since. I haven't even had the urge to smoke.

I quit because I am ready to quit deep down inside. Also, I am so scared of lung cancer. I am scared of dying and having someone else bring up my beautiful children. I am tired of saying, "I will quit tomorrow morning". That tomorrow morning finally came for me, and I am SO excited! It is amazing how much better food smells, and tastes in such a short time. I am not getting much sleep at the present, but that too shall pass, as soon as I get this nicotine out of my system. I would definitely recommend to anyone quitting to either quit before you go to bed, or first thing in the morning. Because, at least for me, once you have that morning or early afternoon cigarette, it makes the whole day impossible for quitting.

Good luck to everyone trying to quit, and CONGRATULATIONS to all whom have!! I am so excited about my new life as a NON-SMOKER!!! :)


from Megan:

I can't remember how many times I have tried to quit that nasty habit. I remember every attempt I had made I would convince myself that my hair, skin, teeth, etc. would improve, that I would feel better in general and that I would have a new outlook on life. Every attempt I made, I had failed miserably. I would go a couple of weeks then the slightest little thing would trigger me, it was just to easy to light one up and forget about how far I had come. About two years ago I had been diagnosed with cervical dysphasia, which at the time I had taken seriously, but as time passed and I had undergone a procedure to remove the infected cells, I really did not give it a second thought. I certainly did not see any link between smoking and my condition. Although smoking cannot be linked to being the sole cause of this condition in women, I believe that it plays a major role. I continued my smoking with no regrets. When I had went for my yearly check-up, I again was diagnosed with severe dysphasia and I had to undergo

yet another procedure to remove the infected cells. If not treated

regularly and checked on a routine basis (Four times a year in my case) it could, in fact, lead to cervical cancer, which is one of the leading causes of death among women. It wasn't until I began to research this condition that I realized the negative effects of smoking, literally. This condition could decrease my chances of having children. I am twenty-five years old, I want to be able to make this decision for myself. So I Quit, and I have

never felt better.


from Anonymous:

It was the beginning of February 1991 and I had a terrible cold and sore throat.  Every time I tried to light a cigarette I broke into coughing spasms that lasted 3-4 minutes.  Believe it or not, I kept trying to smoke, but it was absolutely impossible to take a drag, let alone inhale.  

Three days later, when my throat felt somewhat better, I thought again about lighting up, but realized that by now my addiction of 37 years was probably 99% psychological and no longer a physical need.  I decided then and there that this was as good a time as any to quit, and I threw away all the cigarettes in the house, except for a brand new pack.  This, I put in the pocket of an old winter coat, put the coat in the trunk of the car, which was in the garage, and made up my mind that I had stopped smoking as of three days ago.

That pack of cigarettes stayed in the trunk of my car for one year at which time I finally felt that I had licked the habit, and threw both the cigarettes and the old coat away and bought myself a brand new winter coat as a present.  I must admit that for the first three months following my decision to quit, I still wanted a cigarette desperately, however, the feeling grew less and less until now, I cannot imagine ever lighting up again.  

I have been through major surgery, a divorce, the marriage of my two children and the birth of my granddaughter without ever thinking about smoking again.  The restaurants that have a smoking section don't have my business, since I cannot tolerate the smell any longer, and now understand my children's' aversion to my and my husband's smoking in the house.  

from Susan:

My name is Susan.  I am 45 years old.   I have been smoke free

Two weeks, four days, 9 hours, 30 minutes and 5 seconds. 275 cigarettes not smoked, saving $75.88. Life saved: 22 hours, 55 minutes.

That's my little Quit Meter! 

I started smoking as a teenager.  Quit at 22 (for my husband, not me).   Divorced, at 30, started again.  Quit again ... and yet again.

I started hating it the last few years.   Loving it and hating it.  I am athletic, and care about nutrition.  This was such a stupid thing to do!    I was tired of being embarrassed and hiding it from friends and co-workers, because it showed I was either a) stupid or b) not caring about myself.

Then the real wake up call came:  A close friend is diagnosed with lung cancer.   Both lungs.  She needs 2 operations, plus chemo and radiation.  They say she has 2 - 5 years left to live.  She smoked 3 packs a day for almost 40 years, and had quit several years ago.

I WAS SO HORRIFIED AND SCARED!  I set a quit day (my 45th birthday) and started researching the Internet for support groups.

I smoked my last cigarette standing in front of a mirror watching every grimace and contortion my face made.  I LOOKED SO UGLY SMOKING.  I really never knew how I looked.  I put that cigarette out that night knowing I would never smoke again.

With the help of support groups and reading, I have been successful this time.  I think the major difference is that I really wanted to quit FOR ME this time.  I also educated myself and really focused on this. 

The first two weeks were terrible!  Terrible insomnia!  But after 2 weeks, I started falling asleep earlier and waking earlier, because the nicotine wasn't stimulating me to be awake till 1:00 am. every night.  I don't have that nasty cigarette breath in the morning, and generally just feel 100% healthier and better.  People have remarked that they thought I look 10 years younger!  A friend who hadn't seen me since before I quit told me "I can see it in your face!  When you walked into my house I thought you had had a face lift!"  Now, if that's not incentive, what is?

I gained 5 pounds the first two weeks, but this last week I began a real cleansing diet with lots of water, fresh vegetables, fruit, fiber, lemon and cranberry juice and lean proteins.  I am feeling great and I have lost that weight already.  I have started my running/walking program again, and I plan on losing 20 pounds by diet and exercise.  Nicotine will not keep you thin, just unhealthy.

If I can do this, anyone can!  It is hard, but the sense of accomplishment and self respect I have are worth every withdrawal symptom I had.

Smoke free is wonderful. 


from Stacey:

February 15, 2002 at 11:30pm I smoked my last cigarette. At that moment I really didn't know if it truly would be my last, being that I made this promise to my self many times before. Something must have come over me. I don't know if it was knowing that smoking another cigarette would rob me of seeing my 3 children grow up, or I was just tired of being a slave to a stick of tobacco. But whatever the reason I just didn't want to smoke anymore.

I wasn't going to put myself through the, "I'll smoke only half a pack today and from there I'll narrow it down." So that was it for me. The first 3 days were pure hell but I made it and you know what? It was worth it.

I used to say ' I wish I never started' now I'm just glad I had the strength to quit . . . and  I'll never have to wish


from Brenda:

I used Zyban (which I'll be on another 3 months) and the patch . Right now I'm on the 14mg patch ,Wednesday I step down to 7mg. I haven't had a cigarette for over 2 months.  It has been expensive but so were cigarettes. I read an article in Self magazine written by a doctor, who basically said smokers need to do WHATEVER it takes to quit. The article was about the leading causes of death in young women. That article did it for me.


from Iola:

I started smoking as a teenager, quit prior to conceiving my son then after 4 years, resumed smoking.  I have been smoking for 24+ years.  My attempts to quit have failed, I blamed the fact that I have a mental illness on my not quitting because  people would think I was having a "relapse", I blamed the need for  smoking to relieve stress I felt on the job and every reason conceivable as to why I could not quit. 

I had been urged just like everyone else to quit by medical personnel and family.  My mother smokes and has osteoporosis, peripheral vascular disease, and emphysema.  She continues to  smoke.  

I work in the mental health field where 98% of the clients I work with smoke.  One of those clients quit with the assistance of the patch which is now covered in Suffolk County, NY with Medicaid.  She was an inspiration.  I had been giving it serious thought, did not like the way it smelled, did not like the coughing etc. but above all, I no longer really enjoyed the taste.  I went on the patch which I had to pay for.  I completed the Nicoderm patch and are doing well.  The client I mentioned resumed smoking due to stress of a medical issue.  I found out that I need surgery but have not resumed smoking.

Nicoderm "Committed Quitters" website was of assistance but did not offer support I needed after week 6.  I had purchased stars and still place them on the calendar each day I am successful.  At work and at home.   I  still have the urges but they do pass.  I was ill and in the ER for vomiting and diarrhea, I recovered so fast my husband was shocked.

I know it can be done and am in the process of trying to assist other clients to quit.    I just need more support as a quitter. 


from Veronica:

Hello all fellow quitters..first and foremost I would like to say congratulations on your choice to quit smoking...

I started smoking about 7 years ago when I was 16..very bad decision but it seemed like the cool thing to do at the time...

My motivation for quitting is my grandmother..almost 1 year ago she got deathly ill with double pneumonia...her lungs collapsed ( they were very weak from the 45 years of smoking )..and her heart stopped twice..I got a call at 6:30 in the morning on January 26th (her birthday) telling me to rush to the hospital she was in because she only had 2 hours to live..my husband took her to the hospital so I had to gather up my at the time 2 year old daughter and myself and drive the long hour and 15 min drive to the hospital to tell her good bye..All the way there I was crying and screaming to god why and how can you do this..she is everything to me and I cant lose her now....

Well I finally got to the hospital and thought the worse , that I had gotten there to late and didn't get to say 1 last goodbye to her and to tell her how much I love her...

But to my surprise she was in stable condition and in the ICU...she had a respirator in and tubes coming from every where and I was mortified to see this site..the doctor came in and told us that she had gotten past the crucial point but was still in very critical condition and said that she would probably be in allot better shape if she didn't have the lung disease and the asthma and the deteriorated lung tissue caused from the many years of smoking..

Thank god she is alive and well today after 2 months in the hospital with many ups and downs and uncertainties and 2 weeks in a rehab center learning how to walk and feed herself again because of how her body deteriorated from being so close to death...she is still to this day on oxygen and a nebulizer and has great difficulties walking across a room without having to stop to catch her breath but thanks to the fact that she has been smoke free for almost a year her lungs are slowly getting stronger and able to hold her up a little longer..

I also quit smoking 3 weeks ago..I have been struggling to quit for a while but I finally did it with the patch and the total support of my family including my grandmother telling me not to do what she did..don't buy your own death with a smile on your face..I plan never to light back up..and the cravings are next to none now..thankyou for listening and good luck to you all.


from Marian:

I quit a pack a day smoking habit 11 years ago at 24 years old. I'd been smoking since I was 14. I never really thought about smoking and it really wasn't a part of my life anymore. I work as a musician and one night at a gig I just leaned over and decided to take a drag out of the keyboard players cigarette and 3 years later I'm smoking again!!!! I've been smoking less than 10 cigarettes a day for 3 years but I find myself sneaking out of the house at all hours of the day and night to have a cigarette. (My husband and 10 year old son have no idea. They REALLY don't). I look forward to everyone going to bed so I can go outside while they are sleeping. It is SOO degrading. In the past year I even find myself avoiding vacations with my family because I won't be able to smoke.

I stopped smoking yesterday and really don't have an urge to smoke right now but will have to deal with the night for awhile. That's when I most enjoyed them. 2am smokes out in the cold. How pathetic right? What's even more pathetic is that I was diagnosed with cervical dysphasia (precancer) recently and when I researched it I found that smokers have a higher occurrence than non smokers . I kept smoking .Can you believe it? Anyway, I need prayers. Best of luck to everyone out there. But the BIG message I wanted to get out there is that you can NEVER touch a cigarette, no matter how long you've been off them!

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